Happy Halloween! On the year’s spookiest night taking a look at the NBA’s spookiest team, and not in a good way, seems fitting. The Chicago Bulls horror story might just be beginning
In the pre-season head coach, Jim Boylen claimed that the team was looking into making the playoffs. Through the first several games of the season though, these hopes couldn’t be further from reality.
On paper, the Bulls schedule should have been an easy start. They could have gone out to a 4-1, or even a 5-0 start. Instead, the Bulls are sitting at 1-4 after some incredibly poor performances. Not to mention the more difficult games approaching quickly, their season already seems to be in shambles.
So, where has it all gone wrong?
The Bulls defense has been atrocious so far. From the Charlotte Hornets hitting 23 3-pointers to consistently giving up big leads, the Bulls defense can’t get it together.
Players like Luke Kornet, are being abused on defense because their defensive skill is very specific. The team consistently double teams off of a screen. The defensive rotations sometimes either make no sense or are far too late to be effective.
Offenses will take notice and abuse it. Coming into the season this should have been the biggest concern on the team. Their defense has been consistently lacking and the fact that it is still as disordered as it is should be a major red flag.
Well, the stars aren’t necessarily struggling, but it seems that when the team needs them most, they vanish. Over the course of these games, the Bulls will build a sizable lead and in the fourth quarter, it will slowly be chipped away at until they inevitably lose.
It’s times like these both Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine need to be at their best, instead, they disappear leaving the team to struggle.
In Markkanen’s case, he simply needs to be tougher on both sides of the ball. It seems this year the refs won’t be as likely to call ticky-tack fouls. At times Markkanen will think he is fouled and simply stop playing for a second instead of going for a rebound.
For LaVine, he is the team’s go-to option. It feels like he wants to play too much hero ball though. Sometimes he will allow very stupid mistakes to happen which generally costs the team some points.
If these aspects of both of their games were to change it may help the Bulls maintain their leads, or grind out a close game.
The Bulls horror story doesn’t end here though, arguably the worst part is next.
Boylen really seems to have no plan. There does not seem to be a lot of in-game changes, game plans, or much of anything going on. Substitutions always seem to come at the wrong time. Line up changes don’t happen as quickly as they should. Rookie Daniel Gafford has not set foot on an NBA court yet. After having a strong showing in the preseason it might be a good idea to throw him in there to see if he adds a spark to the team.
It really feels like nothing is going right with the coaching. At best, Boylen is a reactionary coach that allows things to happen to the team instead of strategizing ahead.
This team does have bright spots though. Players like Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. are showing signs of development and have flashes of games where they begin to take over. Rookie Coby White has been putting up good numbers and shown signs of brilliance. LaVine and Markkanen are putting up great numbers and could develop into the league’s next big duo.
But for right now, this team is in the basement. The rest of the season looks like a true Chicago Bulls horror story.